As the end of 2020 approaches, there are daily reminders that life has changed. For some, these reminders are feelings of loneliness that didn’t exist just a few months ago. Older adults are at the highest level of risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and older adults are also at an increased risk of depression, as many are more isolated than ever. Now here’s the good news: there has never been a better time to be creative at home. Discovering and exercising creativity benefits people of all ages by directing time and energy into something positive, helping maintain or improve dexterity and coordination, and providing an opportunity for safe social interaction.
Much to be Gained
Even for people who don’t consider themselves creative, there is much to be gained by experimenting with creation. If boredom at home is your issue, try turning off the TV and put your hands and mind to work. It may not sound like fun at first, but nothing makes time fly like learning a new skill or adopting a new hobby. With the holidays approaching, now is the absolute best time to start hand-making presents for friends and family. Apps like Pinterest and YouTube have countless blogs and videos to provide instruction on how to complete a variety of projects and crafts.
Some creative endeavors like sculpting and building can be physically demanding. Working hard to create something can be just as good for your body as exercise, but you don’t have to break a sweat! Embroidery, drawing, painting, woodcarving, and other handcrafts are fantastic exercises in dexterity and hand-eye coordination. When parts of your body work together to create something or accomplish a goal, the connection between those systems can be maintained or even improved. The arts that mankind has been doing for millennia have stuck around because, among other reasons, they’re good for you.
Getting Back Out There
Regular involvement in social activities is essential for healthy aging. This can look different for everybody, but the importance of engagement cannot be understated. There are a number of opportunities to explore within senior living communities to help seniors be socially engaged while staying safe. Art classes are relatively easy to socially distance, as an artist will usually prefer to have plenty of elbow room anyway. Woodworking clubs are usually small groups and tool handles are easily cleaned. In the community I serve, a group of residents called the handcrafters get together weekly to knit. When I asked about the benefit of their group, one handcrafter said, “With nothing else going on, it is much easier to knit and be guilt-free about spending my time knitting. When I can’t go anywhere, I can sit down and enjoy my handcrafting.” Small, safe groups of common creativity are powerful.
Whether you are taking up a new hobby or honing your skills on a lifelong pastime, consider the added benefits to your overall well-being to be socially engaged and creative.
What is your favorite creative outlet or favorite past-time activity?